July 5: SEPTA real-time data | Domus sues PHA | Southwest Gateway Housing design

SEPTA expects to begin rolling out cellular modems this month that provide riders with real-time data on vehicles’ location, Jason Laughlin reports. Location data on SEPTA’s 1,400 buses and 159 trolleys will refresh every 30 seconds with “more accurate information [expected to] start showing up at stations and on [SEPTA’s] app’s schedules by the end of July.” Currently, train stations and the app provide three-to-seven-minute updates.

Advocates from the Pennsylvania Environmental Defense Foundation (PEDF) are urging an appeals court to support the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s recent ruling that oil and gas revenues “are part of a public trust that must be used to defend the natural environment,” StateImpact PA’s Jon Hurdle reports. An attorney for PEDF is now asking the lower court to also designate state revenue from oil and gas signing bonuses to the public trust for conservation. Hurdle goes into the history of previous lawsuits over oil and gas royalties, lease payments, and the early years of the commonwealth’s “shale gas revolution.”

The Southwest Community Development Corporation has completed preliminary designs for its new “Southwest Gateway Housing” project, WHYY’s Kimberly Haas reports. The CDC hopes that the design plans will convince city to donate two lots for the affordable senior housing project and help secure construction funds from the city and state. The project, which aims to include programming to help the aging population with job searches, utility bill assistance, and after school programs, aims to break ground next summer.

Domus has filed a lawsuit against the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) for breach of contract related to its renovation work on the Norman Blumberg apartments in Sharswood, the Philadelphia Business Journal’s Natalie Kostelni reports. The construction firm alleges that PHA violated the Contractor-Subcontractor Payment Act and was “disorganized, disengaged and hostile toward the contractor.” The Blumberg renovation is part of the Sharswood neighborhood transformation plan, the city’s ten-year, half-billion dollar commitment to remake the entire neighborhood.

The Independence National Historic Park (INHP) has accumulated a $49 million backlog of deferred maintenance, write Paul Steinke and John F. Smith III in an op-ed for the Inquirer. While the city has racked up distinctions as a World Heritage City and a National Treasure, Steinke and Smith explain that aging historic structures will “slowly but surely falling apart”, and that society must come to the rescue “to preserve Philadelphia’s iconic sites and maintain the economic impact they have on the city and region.”

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